The Kratheri
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Commonly known as "Red-Men," the Kratheri are a human ethnic group which originated on the Continent of Za'har and later emigrated to the Kratheri Peninsula of Corwyn. Once there, they established a nation called Kerathos, which was conquered by the Thannish in the Fourth Age. Sadly, all but a handful of Kratheri men and women live today as slaves within the nation of Thûle.

Appearance


Iskari are usually tall and strongly built, with sharp, angular features. Kratheri men and women have predominantly black hair, varying tones reddish-brown skin and bright eyes of brown, hazel, or grey.

Outlook


Kratheri society is patriarchal, meaning that property and ancestry are passed down the paternal line. Men own all the property, and worked the land but acted as caretakers rather than owners.

Myths dictated that this system may have originated from a decree from the “Great Mother,” an important mythological figure in Kratheri culture

Tribes


The Kratheri peoples were divided into several tribes. Each tribal group was named for a particular animal; the Badger, the Bear, the Bison, the Crow, the Eagle, the Elk, the Fox, the Mountain Lion, the Tiger, and the Wolf

Diet


Bread, which the Kratheri made from wheat and corn, was the staple food in the Kratheri diet. Despite being primarily a farming society, the Kratheri hunted such animals like birds, rabbits, gophers, and occasionally larger animals. They also gathered wild plants like prickly pears, bees weed, and pinyon pine to supplement what they grew themselves. Turkeys were sometimes domesticated and raised for meat and eggs. The Kratheri grew crops such as cotton, maize, melons, squash, and beans.

The farming conditions in the lands occupied by the Kratheri are tough, and Kratheri farmers often planted more than they needed, in the knowledge that some crops would simply not make it. They would also store certain foods, like maize, in the event of some years not producing any crops at all. Farmers used tools like shovels and hoes, made from bone, stone, or wood.

Clothing


Most Kratheri dress in cotton cloths and hides which are dyed in bright colors and adorned with beads or intricate embroidery. Men typically wear a cotton loincloth in summer and pants in winter, and draped a blanket over their shoulders. Women wear cotton shirts and long loose skirts, covered in a blanket that was held in place at the waist with an embroidered belt. Both genders usually tie their hair into long braid.

Pottery


Pottery has always been an important part of Kratheri society, and the designs and techniques used were held by the females and passed from generation to generation. This led to slight variations in style emerging between households and larger regional variations. It was possible to tell where a pot was made by examining its style, or to determine the origins and descent of a community.

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Spirituality


The Kratheri did not believe that their current life had any bearing on the next, and they focused on working to better their current life instead. They are not a materialistic people, believing that material wealth should be shared so that everyone could benefit from it in the current life. This meant that they saw their deities as respected figures to be bargained with, rather than impressed or appeased. The Kratheri strongly believed that the soul lived on after death, and had many ceremonies regarding contact with and reverence for the spirit world.

In daily life, the Kratheri observed many personal ceremonies that they believed would bring them good will from the spirits they worshiped. In addition to this, there were larger ceremonies observed by the community.

Some of the most important rituals were held at the winter and summer solstices, although the winter solstice (Sharal) was more important. The gods of the sun and war were worshiped then, celebrating the giver of life and protection from their enemies.

During the festivals on the solstices, many secret rituals were performed in the kivas, or ceremonial rooms. When the secret rituals were finished, the entire community gathered together to place offerings to the gods, to pray and sing, all building up to great procession through the settlement.

Music and dance continued on into the night around large open fires. Ceremonial herbs were regularly used in rituals, including such plants as black cohosh, cedar, cornmeal, gourd, horsetail, mallow, mesquite, ragweed, sagebrush, and wild jalap.

Another aspect of Kratheri culture is maintaining family honor and pride. Losing face is considered the worst of cultural sins, and most Iskari would do anything to avoid such. Saving face demands that all Kratheri treat others with deference and respect, regardless whether such facades bear any resemblance to the truth. Once a person or family loses face, they often lose their status and can be relegated to a lower social class within society.

The Kratheri have a deep respect for the past, including ancient artifacts and legends. They especially revered elders, who they saw as the essence of the community, the keepers of esoteric secrets, the leaders of ceremonies and advisers to leaders. They lived with and were cared for by descendants or relatives. The Kratheri also had a healthy acceptance of mortality, viewing death as a natural part of existence. They laid their dead to rest by sunset, ceremonially preparing the corpse before burying it in the desert and building a cairn of stones over the grave. The Kratheri viewed the undead as abominations to be destroyed.

Language


the ancient language of the Kratheri people is called “Krathic.”. It is little used and now considered mostly a dead language. Only a few Kratheri scholars and sages are familiar with its speech and writing, and it is illegal to either speak or write the language throughout the realm of Thûle. This language is only encountered along the Kratheri Peninsula, and only spoken rarely out loud.

It has been forcibly replaced by an eastern dialect of Thannish. Many ancient ruins and former Kratheri buildings carry the written form of this language as inscriptions, but very few alive today can read the symbols or decipher them.

History


Long ago, many Kratheri folk left Za'har to dwell on the continents of Corwyn and Azoria, due to the horrific acts of another ethnic group called the Deskari, who worshiped demons and conducted human sacrifices. The Deskari hordes destroyed Krath; the ancient Kratheri civilization on Za'har, as well as its city of Jabulon. The surviving Kratheri, eventually fled to Corwyn and established the realm of Kerathos. Unfortunately, Kerathos was conquered by the Eldarans during the Glorious Conquest.